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27 Jun 2018

Hunting association chief: Visa-free program benefits hunting tourism in Belarus

Hunting association chief: Visa-free program benefits hunting tourism in Belarus

 MINSK, 27 June (BelTA) – The visa-free program contributes to the promotion of hunting tourism in Belarus, Chairman of the Belarusian Society of Hunters and Fishermen Yuri Shumsky told BelTA.

“Some foreign hunters take advantage of the visa-free program to come to Belarus. Several hunting enterprises are now purchasing service weapons that can be leased to hunters. Thus, hunters coming from abroad will not have to bring their own weapons to Belarus. An agreement will be concluded. A hunter will be able to lease a weapon, hunt and take a trophy home. However, if we deduct the time spent on traveling here and back, we will see that a hunter will have only three days for hunting. It is too short of a time to hunt for an elk, for example. If the visa-free stay is extended up to 10 days, this will allow attracting more hunters from abroad and will give a fresh impetus to promoting hunting tourism,” Yuri Shumsky said.

The Belarusian Society of Hunters and Fishermen takes part in various exhibitions abroad to lure more tourists in Belarus. “Last year we attended three events – in Hannover, Dortmund (Germany) and Salzburg (Austria). We set up pavilions to catch the eye of hunters. Foreigners are interested in those animals that are unavailable in their countries. The bulk of foreign hunters are Russians (over 80% of all tourists coming for hunting). Belarus is not far from Moscow, therefore it is easier for them to come here than to go to the Urals. They are mostly interested in non-trophy animals of various types. Russians also like spring hunting. At the same time, hunters from Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Poland come for trophies, like those of elks, wolves, deer, wood grouses and black grouses,” Yuri Shumsky said.

In 2016 the hunting grounds that make part of the Belarusian Society of Hunters and Fishermen welcomed 1,548 foreign hunters; 649 hunting tours were arranged. That brought nearly €600,000 in revenues. The upward trend remained in place throughout 2017, with 1,737 foreign hunters, 718 hunting tours and almost €700,000 in revenues. “Every year we welcome up to 2,000 foreign hunters from countries like Poland, Germany, Russia, Austria, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Estonia,” Yuri Shumsky said.

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